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Today’s prelim session was somewhat less eventful than the usual record falling madness that we’ve been seeing here in Glasgow, Scotland, but still sets up one of the best finals sessions so far of the Commonwealth Games this week.
WOMENS 800m FREESTYLE
After tying with Scotland’s Aisha Thornton for the last spot in the women’s 800m freestyle final, New Zealand’s Emma Robinson won a swim-off this morning to punch in her ticket to finals. Robinson and Thornton were extremely close again and kept together the whole race, but ultimately Robinson’s 8:41.94 did the trick.
In finals, she’ll be up against a tough field led by Wales’ swimmer Jazz Carlin. Carlin posted the fastest time in prelims, boasting an 8:22.69. Lauren Boyle from New Zealand followed her in 8:24.85. Two other swimmers were decently close: Alanna Bowles from Australia in 8:25.19 and Brittany MacLean from Canada in 8:27.32.
In tonight’s final there should be a real battle in the middle of the pool between these four for the gold medal. MacLean was a 8:24.91 at Canadian trials this year to break the Canadian record, but looked as though she could be a lot faster with a full taper. If this was the 400, she might have the edge, but she’ll need to prove herself in the longer distance if she wants to take down Carlin for the gold.
MENS 200m BACKSTROKE
After watching Chris Walker-Hebborn take control of the sprint backstrokes, it was time to move on to the 200, and with it came Mitch Larkin of Australia who threw down a 1:57.44 this morning to take the top seed over teammate Matson Lawson.
Going into this race, Larkin was the clear favorite considering he’s already swam a 1:55.26, but it’s looking as though Australian swimmers are hit and miss at these championships. Many Aussie swimmers are posting times slower than the Australian trials raising the question of whether or not the team is fully tapered or if they’re saving some energy for the Pan Pacs held in Australia.
Whatever it is, the two Aussies lead the field, but not far ahead of New Zealand’s Corey Main who swam a 1:57.86 to qualify third for tonight’s final. He’s in position to disrupt an Aussie sweep as Joshua Beaver took the fourth qualifying position in 1:58.34.
Besides the Aussies and Main, Craig McNally from Scotland could do some damage from an outside lane. He’s been a 1:58.87 this year which should be enough seed to squeeze in for a fourth or fifth place finish. He’ll have to get past Canada’s Russell Wood and his teammate Ryan Bennett to do so.
MENS 50m FREESTYLE
There’s no surprise that Australia’s Cameron McEvoy qualified first in the men’s 50m freestyle this morning with a time of 22.04. He’s taking it out hard, and it’s very obvious that he’s tired of silver medals here at the Commonwealth Games. McEvoy will head into the semifinals as the leader, but it’s closer than you’d think it is.
Matt Abood from Australia was a 22.09, Ben Proud from England was a 22.21. and James Magnussen was a 22.33. All swimmers are within striking distance of McEvoy, and as was evident my the men’s 100m freestyle final the two (Magnussen and McEvoy) might not be in as good shape as previously predicted.
The two were much slower than they were at Aussie trials which could play a huge factor here for veteran swimmers George Bovell and Rolan Schoemann. Bovell was one of the favorite’s heading into the competition and swam a 22.37 this morning which puts him directly in the hunt. Schoemann was just behind him in 22.54.
Bovell and Schoemann should improve on those times during tonight’s semifinals, edging closer and closer to McEvoy.
The field is so tight that when it comes to race day it could be anybody’s race. The Aussies are strong, Ben Proud has proved speed, and the veteran swimmers have enough experience against a world-class field to really do something special here.
WOMENS 50m BACKSTROKE
Georgia Davies from Wales broke the Commonwealth Games record in the 50m backstroke this morning with a time of 27.90. The silver medallist from the 100m backstroke final earlier in the meet is looking pretty stellar as nobody other than Emily Seebohm of Australia has shown that they’re in striking distance of beating her.
Seebohm was a 28.03 to qualify second for tonight’s semifinal. Behind her was Lauren Quigley in 28.39. The Wales swimmer, Australian swimmer, and the English swimmer will be the top three factors in this event and could very well finish in a similar fashion come the final. It will most likely take another new Commonwealth Games record to take gold tomorrow night.
WOMENS 200m FLY
Madeline Groves of Australia was the top seed with a time of 2:08.51. Jemma Lowe from Wales was third in 2:09.28 followed by Canada’s Audrey Lacroix in 2:09.58.
Lacroix has been unbelievable this season and will put up an unbelievable fight for gold in tonight’s final. Throw in a couple other swimmers like Aimee Willmott of England, Ellen Gandy of Australia, and 100m fly winner Katerine Savard from Canada and this will not be an easy final to win.
All swimmers were within a very similar range, and despite Savard’s 2:11.31 she’s been a whole lot faster this year and can’t be counted out for the gold medal either. This race will come down to the wall as there are so many swimmers that have the potential to do it.
MENS 1500m FREESTLYE
Clearly holding back, nobody broke the 15 minute barrier in the heats of the men’s 1500m freestyle. Ryan Cochrane of Canada did take the top seed however, and will be the main force in finals tomorrow night.
Throw Mack Horton, Daniel Fogg, and Jordan Harrison into the mix and there will be a solid race for the silver medal.
FULL RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE